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Improved customer service skills can help an understaffed company thrive

Improved customer service skills can help an understaffed company thrive

By Howard Hubler

I recently had two different experiences being waited on by two different individuals in a big box store. One experience was good, and the other not so good. The common denominator? Both were overwhelmed at the lack of help in their business, and they had to “do it all.” On the favorable side, I was greeted with a smile and with the information that this saleswoman was helping somebody else, but they would be with me in the next several minutes. Once free, this saleswoman informed me she was understaffed and with my prompting concluded what I thought that I needed, and I think she hit it right on the head. She answered questions to help with nailing down my purchase and with that, I walked out of the store none the worse for the wear.

My radiance after this experience fell by the wayside once I met a young saleswoman having what appeared to be a bad day. Based on her attitude of being the only one in the department most of the time I surmised, a bad day was probably her norm. As this lady floated back-and-forth waiting in front of me waiting on her customer, I put my hands in the air as if to simply say, “Excuse me, I have a quick question.” This lady would give me any eye contact. She would not indicate that I was next, and she did not ask for additional help in her department. After spending several minutes telling her customer how to build a room addition onto their house, she finally got to me. Her attitude was huffy because she felt rushed. Sometimes salespeople have be actors; they must get rid of the drama and approach you calm, cool and collected.

Are you giving your staff any skill sets to manage through understaffing? Improved eye contact, a pleasant attitude and telling a customer where he may be in the queue of being waited on? Here is my own teachable moment from my big box experiences. I’m going to guess in today’s market, training our staff to strategically approach the customer will dictate whether someone comes back to you in the future or selects another competitor.


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